Decreased snake venom metalloproteinase effects via inhibition of enzyme and modification of fibrinogen

Vance G. Nielsen, Marc A. Cerruti, Olivia M. Valencia, Quinlan Amos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Since the introduction of antivenom administration 120 years ago to treat venomous snake bit, it has been the gold standard for saving life and limb. However, this therapeutic approach is not always effective and not without potential life-threatening side effects. We tested a new paradigm to abrogate the plasmatic anticoagulant effects of fibrinogenolytic snake venom metalloproteinases by modification of fibrinogen with iron and carbon monoxide and by inhibiting these Zn2+ dependent metalloproteinases directly with carbon monoxide exposure. Assessment of the fibrinogenolytic effects of venoms collected from Puff adder, Gaboon viper and Indian cobra snakes on plasmatic coagulation kinetics was performed with thrombelastography. Pretreatment of plasma with iron and carbon monoxide exposure markedly attenuated the effects of all three venoms, and direct pretreatment of each venom with carbon monoxide also significantly decreased the ability to compromise coagulation. These results demonstrated that the introduction of a transition metal (e.g., modulation of the α-chain of fibrinogen with iron), modulation of transition metal in heme (e.g., carbon monoxide modulation of fibrinogen-bound heme iron), and direct inhibition of transition metal containing venom enzymes (e.g., CO binding to Zn2+ or displacing Zn2+ from the catalytic site) significantly decreased fibrinogenolytic activity. This biometal modulation strategy to attenuate the anticoagulant effects of snake venom metalloproteinases could potentially diminish hemostatic injury in envenomed patients until antivenom can be administered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-919
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Carbon monoxide
  • Fibrinogen
  • Iron
  • Snake venom metalloproteinase
  • Thrombelastography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Metals and Alloys


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